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2021, May 29: Morning Gibbous Moon, Jupiter, Saturn

Venus, Mercury, Moon, Spica, November 13, 2020

2020, November 13: Sparkling Venus – nearly 18° up in the east-southeast – is 8.1° to the upper right of the old moon and 5.5° to the upper left of Spica. The lunar crescent is 6.9° to the lower left of Spica and 5.1° above Mercury.

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May 29, 2021: This morning’s bright moon is near the handle of the Teapot of Sagittarius.  Bright Jupiter and Saturn are to the east of the gibbous moon.

Chart Caption – 2021, May 29: One hour before sunrise, the bright moon is near the handle of the Teapot of Sagittarius. Use a binocular to see the starfield.

by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 5:20 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 8:17 p.m. CDT.  Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.

This morning the gibbous moon is in the south as it nears the bright morning planets.  The lunar orb is 88% illuminated.  It is to the upper left of the Teapot of Sagittarius.  Use a binocular to see the pattern in this bright moonlight.

The gibbous shape is 3.6° to the upper left of the star Tau Sagittarii (τ Sgr on the chart).

The moon is 25° to the right of Saturn.

Chart Caption – 2021, May 29: Bright planets, Jupiter and Saturn, are to the east of the bright moon before sunrise.

The bright morning planets, Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeastern sky before sunrise.  Saturn rises nearly 5 hours before sunup and Jupiter follows less than an hour later.  During Early June, Saturn appears above the horizon before midnight.

Saturn is brighter than most of the stars in this morning’s sky, except for Jupiter, Arcturus, and Vega.  The Ringed Wonder is retrograding in Capricornus. 

Retrograde motion is an illusion as our planet catches up to and passes between the sun and the outer planet.  Jupiter begins to retrograde next month.

Jupiter is 17.9° to the left of Saturn.  The Jovian Giant is moving eastward in Aquarius.

Articles and Summaries

Detailed Note: One hour before sunrise, the bright gibbous moon (17.6d, 88%) is over 20° up in the south.  It is above the handle of the Teapot of Sagittarius, 3.6° to the upper left of Tau Sagittarii (τ Sgr, m = 3.3).  Farther eastward, Saturn is nearly one-third of the way up in the south-southeast.  Saturn is retrograding in Capricornus, 0.6° to the lower right of θ Cap.  It is moving westward compared to that stellar signpost.  For the past few mornings, the gap between them is the same when rounded to a tenth of a degree.  Jupiter, at nearly the same altitude as Saturn, is 17.9° to the left of Saturn. In the starfield, the Jovian Giant is 2.6° to the upper left of ι Aqr, 4.1° to the lower right of θ Aqr, and 4.3° to the upper right of σ Aqr.  Three planets are visible after sunset, although dimming Mercury is rapidly leaving the evening sky.  Thirty minutes after sunset, brilliant Venus is over 8° above the west-northwest horizon.  Mercury (m = 2.5) is 1.2° below Venus.  At this time interval, use a binocular to see Mercury with Venus.  Forty-five minutes after sunset, Venus is about 6° above the horizon. Mercury is lower in the sky and a challenge to locate. Venus is 5.4° to the lower left of Elnath.  Mars is higher in the sky, over 25° above the west horizon, in Gemini. Fifteen minutes later, Venus is over 3° up in the sky.  In the starfield, Mars is 3.8° to the upper left of δ Gem, 2.3° below κ Gem, and 5.4° to the lower left of Pollux.

2021, October 29 – November 1, Lion Moon

October 29 – November 1, 2021:  The crescent moon moves in front of the stars of Leo in the eastern sky before sunrise.  Watch the moon appear lower and the phase shrink (wane) each morning. Also note that there is no Full moon on Halloween this year!

2021, October 25:  Caught Between the Horns

October 25, 2021: This morning the bright gibbous moon seems to be caught between the horns of Taurus.  Mercury is making its best morning appearance.  The planet pack – Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn are in the evening sky.

2021, October 24: Saturn Inches Toward Jupiter

October 24, 2021:  Saturn is at its closest to Jupiter as the Jovian Giant picks up eastward speed.  The morning moon and Mercury are visible before sunrise.  Brilliant Evening Star Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter are in the sky after sunset.

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